Untitled (2016) Louis van Roode
Behind this so harmonious looking portrait is a whole adventure. Artist Louis van Roode made this work in 1951 when he had just returned from Africa and looked back on his journey there. At the invitation of Rotterdam architect Herman Haan, he had been part of a travel company that traveled through the Sahara. Van Roode was specifically asked to reproduce petroglyphs. The journey would be an adventure, because the travel group was plagued by car trouble, dysentery and malaria. But they went on. They passed army posts of the Foreign Legion under the guidance of an armed escort with the aim of visiting the Dogon people in Mali. Van Roode was deeply impressed by everything he saw and made countless sketches of people, oases, settlements, cities and landscapes. Back in Rotterdam he worked out a number of portraits such as this one: a lithograph of 45 cm high with a portrait of an African. The portrait is arranged in an ornament frame on the Brede Hilledijk, the street where Van Roode himself grew up. This wall painting was carried out posthumously in 2016 by Atelier Mineur with the approval of the daughter of Van Roode. It represents a boy you can look into the eyes, a full face, realistic, but also stylized and with unreal colors (blue, the most spiritual color there is) so that you can also see the face as an expression of something else , something not tangible, a feeling, a world of thought. The combination with the flower reinforces that: it is one with nature, a place where you could look for and feel the presence of spirituality. Rarely did Van Roode work really abstractly, because he always wanted to interpret the world around us. But to do that, to show that there was more than the visible world, he also opted for abstract combinations of energy and cosmic forms. In the summer of 2017 this work and eight other paintings in ornament frames, containing restored and new artworks in the Katendrecht district of Rotterdam, were delivered. They have been realized in the project Cape color, a collaboration between Verhalenhuis Belvédère and BKOR.
The Rotterdam artist Louis van Roode (Delft, 1914 - Rotterdam, 1964) worked a lot for the new architecture during the Reconstruction period. He produced many murals and mosaics that adorned modern architecture, but which also told a story about nature, culture, people and the cosmos. Major works by his hand have been preserved in Rotterdam, but also in Vlissingen, Eindhoven and The Hague. He can rightly be called one of the greatest wall artists of his time.
Brede Hilledijk 219A, 3072 NG Rotterdam, Netherlands